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1 Nov 2005 : Column 862W—continued


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) postcards and (b) emails he has received in 2005 making representations on (i) Tesco plc and (ii) the Tescopoly campaign. [22693]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I provided on 18 October 2005, Official Report, column 911W.

UK Trade and Investment

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library a copy of the report prepared by Ernst and Young which considered the legitimacy of expenses incurred by staff of UK Trade and Investment. [21277]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 25 October 2005]: It would be inappropriate to publish the report in question, which contains material relevant to internal civil service management processes that have not yet been completed.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employees of (a) his Department and (b) UK Trade and Investment are under suspension due to a disciplinary investigation. [21278]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 25 October 2005]: There are currently no members of the DTI or UK Trade and Investment under suspension due to a disciplinary investigation.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total employees' expenses budget for UK Trade and Investment was in each of the last five years. [21279]

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Ian Pearson [holding answer 25 October 2005]: UK Trade and Investment is not an employer in its own right. The expenses of staff deployed on its work are met by its parent departments. The total amount allocated to UK Trade and Investment for travel and subsistence in 2003–04, the latest year for which full figures are available, was £8.4 million, and £7.7 million in 2002–03. These figures exclude living allowances for Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff living abroad. Comparable information for earlier years is not readily available.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what rules apply to the payment of expenses to employees of UK Trade and Investment. [21280]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 25 October 2005]: UK Trade and Investment does not employ staff on its own account. The people working on UK Trade and Investment activities remain employees of their parent departments, or are contracted to those departments. Insofar as they claim expenses, they would have to do so under the rules of the department meeting the particular claim.

The payment of expenses to civil servants and those contracted to work for Government Departments, is governed by the principles of good financial
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management as set out in Government Accounting and the Civil Service Management Code.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many websites are maintained by UK Trade and Investment aimed at helping businesses to trade with overseas countries; which (a) region and (b) overseas country is targeted by each website; and how many visits to each website there were in 2004–05. [21663]

Ian Pearson: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) maintains a number of websites designed to meet the needs of our different customers. The main site is Country specific sites are provided to address particular customer needs and to publicise opportunities in the UK for foreign businesses. UKTI's English regional network has developed sites where this has been agreed with regional partners as part of individual regional strategies. These aim to complement the information on the main site. The remainder of the international network provides information on trade and investment opportunities via relevant areas on their local embassy or consulate sites provided via the FCO. Details on the UKTI sites focused on countries and the regions are listed as follows:
Website addressCountriesUsage data
National sites countries(5)Not available countries(6)6,739
Country specific sites and AustraliaNot available and Canada(7)Not available and China(8)Not available and FranceNot available and Germany(9)10,357 and India(10)Not available and Japan(11)Not available and MexicoNot available and New ZealandNot available and and USA(12)210,552
English region sites region(13)91,022 region(10)Not available Midlands(5)(5508270006)17,923 East region(5)(5508270006)278,310
http://www.uktisoutheast.comSouth East region(5)(5508270006)10,700 West region(5)(5508270006)10,699 Midlands(5)(5508270006)226,454

(5) Site was moved to a new technical infrastructure in September 2004. Information about hits on the new site was not available until August 2005. Data for the period 1 August 2005 to 30 September 2005 totalled 169,235. Comparable data from the previous system are not available.
(6) Data are for period August 2004 to July 2005 and are for unique visitors.
(7) Site receives approximately 265 visits per day (approx 97,000 per annum).
(8) Site is not managed by UKTI but funding is provided via grant in aid to the China-Britain Business Council.
(9) Data refer to visits for period October 2004 to September 2005.
(10) Site introduced in October 2005. Visitor statistics not yet available.
(11) Site was launched in June 2005 to promote UK creative companies and forms part of site. Visitor statistics are not available.
(12) Data refer to total sessions on the site in 2004–05.
(13) Data refer to total visitors to the site between April 2004 and March 2005.
(14) Site is provided to support Passport (a programme to develop clients' trade development capacity) customers in the Eastern region.
(15) Data are for period August 2004 to March 2005 only.
(16) Data are for the period July 2004 to March 2005.
(17) Site went live April 2005. The data on visits are for period April to September 2005.
(18) Data relate to hits since launch in October 2004.
(19) Site was launched in March 2005 to support Passport customers. Data refer to page views to September.

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Avian Influenza

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Prime Minister if he will ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at every meeting of the Cabinet for the duration of the threat, to present an update on the threat of avian influenza coming to the UK. [23707]

The Prime Minister: The Cabinet has been regularly kept informed of the threat posed by avian influenza to the UK.


Cambridgeshire County Council

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons are for his Department's ruling that Cambridgeshire county council may not decide whether it should install signs saying No Entry Except for Cyclists or No Entry Except for Buses but must follow a central standard. [23003]

Ms Buck [holding answer 28 October 2005]: The design and use of traffic signs is specified in national regulations so that signs will be used consistently and safely. No-entry signs are safety critical signs that are used with physical barriers or to prevent conflicts and collisions between opposing streams of traffic. The combination with Except buses" plates has been permitted for contraflow bus lanes in one-way streets or other bus-only facilities that it is clearly not appropriate for other vehicles to use. We do not believe that cyclists should be encouraged to cycle past no-entry signs, and the use of except cycles" plates with no-entry signs is specifically prohibited by the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD). There are other sign designs available to indicate routes that cycles and buses, but not other motor vehicles, can use.

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